Exploring the local enregisterment of Dearborn English in southeastern Michigan
Iman Sheydaei, ESL instructor, Dept. of English, UW-Madison
This talk explores the local enregisterment (Agha 2003, 2007) of the variety of American English spoken in Dearborn, MI. Previous research shows residents of Dearborn recognize their American English variety as a distinct variety which sounds “deeper”, “gruffy”, and “throaty”. Dearborn English, as an emerging ethnolinguistic repertoire, is generally an understudied variety. For this presentation, an online survey was designed with two identical but separate versions: one with female voices, and another with male voices. Audio recordings in the survey included the same sentence read by 10 different speakers. A preliminary analysis of the two-member groups shows that male Dearborn speakers get grouped together more frequently than female Dearborn speakers. Additionally, male speakers get associated with the specific locality of Dearborn on an interactive map more frequently than female speakers. Based on ethnographic evidence, I argue that Dearborn English is an ethnolinguistic repertoire with masculinity associations.